Waka 2015 through my iphone

I only had my phone and my film camera this year at Wakarusa, and it made it all more enjoyable. Here are the best phone photos.

Remember I told you several artists walked by the Love Hope Strength table and I totally got photos with all? The only one I missed was Chance The Rapper… he walked and I missed him.

Wakarusa 2015

Welcome to Wakarusa
Wakarusa is home to me. It’s the first music festival I ever attended and I’ve been attending every year since. Apart from that, it only takes me a bit over an hour to get there, yet it completely removes me from my world.

Waka has been getting better year after year, not counting 2012, the year better known as Mudarusa. That was the year I spent less than 24 hours on site, the only set I enjoyed was Of Monsters And Men, Grouplove disappeared from the lineup a week before the festival. Anyway, this year was better than last. Everything looked better, prettier, more colorful. Even the water stations were actual water bottle filling stations (thanks, Klean Kanteen!) instead of regular (and kinda questionable looking) faucets from previous years.

This year I went back to volunteer with Love Hope Strength. I was able to catch a lot of the music I wanted to and got to meet several artists that happened to walk by the LHS table. I got no shame on showing the fanatic side of me.
Moon Taxi
I didn’t catch any new bands (we were short handed in volunteers), so I only caught my faves and a couple of new bands. The first show I caught was Moon Taxi. Those guys were so great. The sun was still pretty high, so it was hot as balls, but there was still a big crowd (specially for the first day of the fest, which is usually the slower day). That night I also got to see Kopecky (previously known as Kopecky Family Band) and texted @docmurda about it. The reply I got said “You know you’ve seen a lot of shows when you can’t remember seeing Kopecky at Loufest 2014.” I blame the name change!

I didn’t catch any daytime sets on Friday. My first one of the day was Chance The Rapper at 8:30pm. He drew a huge crowd and he kept us entertained. I was really impressed by him. I wasn’t very familiar with his music, but he turned me into a fan. After his set, I walked around with a friend and ended up at STS9 after a couple of other shows that didn’t catch our attention. STS9 was a bit enjoyable. I was super tired, so I went back to camp right after. My camp was super close to the main stage, so I could hear all the music very loud and clear. So I can tell you, STS9 and Big Gigantic are good sleeping music for me. That was not the case Saturday night, when I had to suffer through Major Lazer, who had the late set at the main stage. That isn’t music. If anything it sounds like someone is killing chickens. It was awful.

Saturday, up to Major Lazer, was a great music day. I pretty much wanted to catch every set at the main stage and some at smaller stages, but I was only able to catch Young The Giant, The Roots, and Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals. It was still hot and humid when Young The Giant started their set, but it was so great. Those guys were full of energy and most of us in the crowd danced and jumped and sang along through the whole set. I was right up from for all three sets (no shame, remember). I was completely blown away by The Roots. Those guys were amazing. AMAZING. I really have nothing else to say about that, except that everyone needs this experience. Did I mention it was amazing? So by the time Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals came, I was already in a great place emotionally. They took me higher. I have all of Ben Harpers albums and the ones with The Innocent Criminals (Lifeline and Burn To Shine) are my favorites. Last time I saw Ben Harper, it was at Waka 2011 when he played with Relentless7. I really enjoyed that show as well, but this one was at a different level. I think it fell more personal to me.

I ended up my Wakarusa with Nahko and Medicine For The People set on Sunday. I had a lot of fun at every set I attended… I even cried a little with Ben Harper. But Nahko and Medicine For The People was the set that is going to stay with me forever. It’s what I listened to the rest of the week at work and home. I still cannot get enough. The golden lyrics are just… and the music… and… I just can’t explain. It’s like being in love.

I also learned something important. If I could have a super power, it would be something that would make tall people that stand in front of me (5’2″) at concerts disappear.

I hope you enjoy this photos. I took a roll of film (yes, film) with me and had it cross processed. I am super happy with them. I used one of my lensbaby lenses to take them.

A Film Photo Set: LouFest 2013

I got my film back from the lab! I’m so excited to show you the photos from LouFest. @DocMurda has done a wonderful job at reviewing the sets we were able to catch, so I won’t go into so much detail. I already told you why I fell in love with this festival, so now I’ll let you see what I caught on camera. I took my LC-A+ camera (film) because having a DSLR was on the list of prohibited items for the fest. I wanted to bring my DSLR, but I didn’t want to deal with any kind of rejection at the gate, so I opted for film.

I attempted to do several multiple exposures to capture the awesomeness of the fest. Some worked, some didn’t. But I’ll let you be the judge of that. Click on the photos for the large version and captions.

Saturday at LouFest was hot and awesome. We didn’t stay until late that day (that is correct, we missed Wilco, but we have no regrets). This day we started out with Jukebox The Ghost, which was an amazing set to start out the weekend. I’ve been listening to these guys in the weeks that have followed the festival and I can tell you that I am a fan now. Next up was Modoc at the BMI Stage, but I sincerely don’t remember these guys. I feel a little bad about that, but I think I was just really hungry and dehydrated. The only thing I remember happening between this set and Trampled by Turtles was some carne asada tacos from the Mission Taco Joint stand. I didn’t even go to the main stage for TbT, but listened to them from the shaded spot under one of the trees at the BMI Stage, where we caught up with Space Capone. I think I had higher expectations for these guys, because their set at LouFest didn’t make a huge impression. We left their set early to get up close during the Fitz And The Tantrums set, which was amazing. They never let down, they have great chemistry on stage and that spills over to the crowd. The first time I saw them was a couple of years ago at Wakarusa, after @DocMurda suggested I checked them out. They recently released their sophomore album, More Than Just a Dream. They played a great mixed of songs from both of their albums, but “Money Grabber” from Picking Up The Pieces was my favorite from the set. The last full set we caught on Saturday was Desert Noises, which had been recommended by @DocMurda. Those guys have great music, but they got a lot to grow when it comes to stage presence. This was specially evident after coming from the Fitz And The Tantrums set. We walked around the festival grounds while The National was playing and left a little before they finished the set.

Sunday at LouFest started out rainy, but it cleared out just in time for the music. We were ready to see The Mowgli’s, which delivered and amazing set that just set the tone for the whole day. This day was really all about the music. The second set of the day for us was Youngblood Hawke, which kept up with the SoCal sound we had going with The Mowgli’s. There was SO MUCH DANCING, and it was still early in the day so there weren’t huge crowds at the stages. That would very soon change, as we found out.  By the time we got to the stage for WALK THE MOON (which was 45 min early) there was already a large amount of folks up front. The set was worth the wait, as the dancing and singing along continued. I am definitely driving 2 hours to Tulsa to catch them in October (and I’m so excited that I will get to see The Mowgli’s again, as they are opening that night!) We listened to Local Natives from under a tree at the BMI stage. My favorite “Airplanes” came toward the end of their set, which sounded awesome. Wild Cub followed at the BMI stage. I find their sound very mature, and I like that about them. It’s refreshing. We danced our way to the main stage to the sound of “I Love It” by Icona Pop, which was finishing their set on the other side of the festival. At the main stage we caught Alabama Shakes, which are even more awesome live than I had imagined. Brittany Howard has a voice that makes you go “DAMN, WOMAN!” We left shortly after they played their hit “Hold On” to find a good spot for Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros. But it looked like about a third of the folks at the main stage had the same idea. So many people. And so many of them smoking. That, however, didn’t come in between us and our inner hippie dancing. But then again, we had to leave the set early to get to the main stage for the final act of the night and the highlight of the festival: The Killers. It was my first time at one of their concerts, and I think it could have been a lot better than it was. You see, it wasn’t the music. That part was amazing. The Killers really killed it. But by that time of the night there were just so many drunk jerks around, that I had to get further from the stage or I would have gotten Salvadoran-aggressive on a tall DB that was in front of me when the set started. I am looking forward to a much better experience with The Killers at Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas in a month.

I will leave you with this Icona Pop video. Just because I want to. That song got in my head the nano-second I mentioned it on this post. So now, I will get it in your head. I don’t care, I love it. I hope you enjoyed the photos. I think I will make it a tradition to take a film camera to any music festival, even if I also take my digital if I get a photo pass.

TBT: Michael Franti & Spearhead @ The Village, 2010

I wrote this review in October 2010. Franti & Spearhead just released a new album this week, so I thought this is appropriate for Throwback Thursday this week.

Michael Franti & Spearhead @ The Village

With fresh new material, a lot of energy, and a growing fan base, Michael Franti & Spearhead are making the most of the moment. On Friday, Oct. 1, Franti & Spearhead had their first show in Little Rock, AR at The Village.

Franti & Spearhead really know how to put on a show. The venue wasn’t completely full, but it felt like it after the show started out with “Love Don’t Wait,” from the band’s latest studio production, The Sound of Sunshine.

Continue reading

TBT: The Giving Tree Band @ George’s, 2012

Last week for Throw Back Thursday, I posted the review for the first Giving Tree Band show I attended. This week, I wanted to share the second time I caught them live. Enjoy:

The Giving Tree Band @ George's Majestic
This is a late post, but I promise you it’s worth the wait. At the end of April, one of my favorite Bluegrass/Americana band made a stop in Fayetteville, AR at George’s Majestic Lounge. It had been close to two years since I first experienced The Giving Tree Band live. It had been way too long.
Continue reading

TBT: First Annual Fayetteville Roots Festival

For Throw Back Thursday you get the review I posted at the other music blog in 2010 after the first Fayetteville Roots Festival. The fest has only gotten bigger and better. It’s so awesome. I’m sure @DocMurda would LOVE it. Enjoy:

FRF Final Jam
The First Annual Fayetteville Roots Festival on August 29th was set to take place at Greenhouse Grille, but after a water main broke at Greenhouse Grille the festival was moved to George’s Majestic Lounge. Hats off to the festival organizers and to George’s management and staff, because the evening ran smoothly, as if everything that happened was part of the plan.

The music-filled evening went better than I expected. I left George’s that night with a couple of new albums for my collection, after being blown away by some of the performances. I know I’m not alone when I say that this festival definitely has all the right components to become a Fayetteville classic; from the award-winning artists, to the welcoming audience, and a community coming together in case there’s a water main that breaks at the very last minute.
Continue reading